10/24/2008 8:36 PM
Many families I know who have adopted children from other cultures/countries try to incorporate some ethnic traditions into their own family. Our family has comfortably incorporated Russian children's stories and food into our lives. The process has become so gradual that we aren't even aware of it now. However, the other day our boys noticed a pattern about our meals that particular day.
I was serving our evening meal, Russian Meat Ball and Cabbage Soup (2 recipes I've combined from Sue Gregg's cookbook, "Soups & Muffins") when Jonathan asked what we were having...a very common question as our boys are ALWAYS interested in food! After I told him, his excited reply was, "Yum, yum"...complete with a smiling face and a rub on his tummy! Then one of the other boys piped up and said, you know we had Russian Custard with Kefir for breakfast. Then I picked up on the theme and realized we had eaten Steamed Cabbage Rolls with Kombucha for lunch! Every meal that day was very Russian. I had NOT planned it at all!
While our boys were young when they came to America, I do believe their early years in the orphanage orientated their taste buds for Russian foods. My boys like many foods, but they LOVE their homemade Kefir, Yogurt, and Kombucha, as well as oatmeal, soups, sourdough breads and many cabbage recipes. How many other children do you know that will drink Kefir....straight? I haven't even met too many adults who can handle this wonderful fermented dairy product without mixing it in a smoothie! The boys latest kick on foods.....eating raw whole garlic cloves! Their bodies are the healthier for it....now if everyone else can stand the odor!!!
Russian Meat Ball and Cabbage Soup - this recipe is too lengthy to post for now, but I basically combine "Valentina's Cabbage Soup" recipe with "Natasha's Meat Ball Soup" from Sue Gregg's cookbook, "Soups & Muffins". I change the meatballs and don't do rice, but include some powdered minced onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper & egg into my ground beef. Rolls these into balls and cook them in the boiling chicken stock. After cooking for about 5 minutes, I remove the meatballs and continue with the cabbage soup recipe, which starts with the chicken stock as a base. When the cabbage soup is done, I return the meatballs to the soup for a few minutes before serving.
Russian Custard - this recipe comes from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's book, "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" where she has some wonderful recipes for people who need to heal their gut and restore gut flora. Contact Stewardship Resources for a copy of the book...look for link on the home page of this website.
Serves 4-5 people: Separate 6 pastured eggs yolks and place in bowl. Beat egg yolks until pale yellow and creamy. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp of raw honey (more if you like it sweeter) and beat that in (I take my portion out before the honey and sweeten mine with stevia). Serve over homemade yogurt and top with fruit of your choice. I like to thaw a package of frozen berries the night before and serve as the topping. The berry juice makes for a delicious breakfast treat. I was pleasantly surprised that this breakfast will fill us up (due to the wonderful raw eggs) and last us just as long as a cooked breakfast will.
Steamed Cabbage Rolls - this recipe is always different every time I make it because I use whatever meat and cooked veggie leftovers I have to fill it. However, the cabbage is always steamed.
Bring 1-2" of water to boil in a pan big enough for the head of cabbage to fit in. Remove the cabbage core and set cabbage in the pan of boiling water, reduce heat to a simmer, and steam for about 10 minutes. Check occasionally to see if the outer leaves will peel off easily. Remove these as they become pliable enough to be removed without breaking. Either continue steaming the rest of the cabbage head or remove and cool to keep for future cabbage recipes. Lay the individual steamed cabbage leaves on a towel to drain and cover with another towel to keep warm. When ready to serve, fill with your favorite topping and roll up. Serve immediately. Tip: the bigger the cabbage, the easier the leaves will be for people to hold and eat.
Maybe later I'll post about making Kefir, Yogurt and Kombucha.